Floridaâ€™s controversial â€œStand Your Groundâ€ law continues to enjoy widespread support among likely voters, even as a state task force considers rewriting the law, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.
Nearly 65 percent say the 2005 law â€” which allows people who believe they are in grave danger to use deadly force to defend themselves â€” does not need to be changed. Thereâ€™s less consensus when it comes to votersâ€™ thoughts on the Trayvon Martin shooting, which thrust â€œStand Your Groundâ€ into the national spotlight this year.
Voters are essentially split about whether George Zimmerman â€” who faces second-degree murder charges for shooting the 17-year-old Trayvon on Feb. 26 â€” was acting in self-defense when he pulled the trigger. Forty-four percent believe he was and 40 percent say he wasnâ€™t, while 16â€‰percent are not sure. Major differences emerge when voters are separated by geography and race.
â€œThe real divide on this is racial, which I think isnâ€™t terribly surprising given the racial tone that this [case] has taken,â€ said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling Research, a nonpartisan, Jacksonville-based company that conducted the poll.